The atmosphere was tense at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on Friday, as passengers heading for various destinations for the Easter break, were manually checked-in for their flights.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the termination of a concession agreement with Maevis Nigeria Ltd., by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), had led to passengers being manually checked-in, as the former had dismantled its passenger processing equipment at the airport.
NAN reports that the manual check-in deployed by the new concessionaire, Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques (SITA), was inconveniencing for the passengers.
Most of the passengers expressed displeasure over the sufferings they were going through as a result of the manual check-in procedure.
NAN reports that the departure hall was crammed, as travellers were seen fanning themselves and their children while waiting on queue to be screened and checked-in.
NAN also learnt that the check-in process was more intense at the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) section, as officials of the anti-hard drug agency rigorously double checked travellers to prevent traffickers from slipping through.
A Virgin Atlantic passenger, Yeside Omobolarinwa, told NAN that she was disappointed that FAAN had yet to acquire a screening machine in the aftermath of Maevis departure.
She said FAAN ought to have procured a screening machine ahead of the termination of Maevis contract.
An Ethiopian Airline passenger, Andrew Olivia, said he was unhappy about the situation, particularly when he saw that a child stayed on the queue for about three hours.
He expressed appreciation at government’s effort at transforming the airport, but added that it could do more by immediately providing an effective solution to the check-in problem.
“This check-in problem should be part of the reforming process going on. Government is trying a lot at the airport but they should not jeopardise this with making passengers suffer while checking in.
“The people I pitied most were these children who had to stand, along with their parents, on the queue. A pregnant woman, who stood for about an hour, was eventually asked to sit somewhere after complaining of dizziness,’’ he said.
After the termination of Maevis contract, FAAN signed on SITA to take over the collection of $1.40 (about N217) from every processed passenger.
NAN reports that SITA, however, had to manually check-in passengers pending when it would install its screening equipment.
The FAAN management had earlier appealed to passengers to bear with it over the inconveniences they would encounter with the manual check-in procedure.